Compiled by City & State Florida
Tuesday, December 13, 2022
While lawmakers are busy with insurance, the medical-cannabis company Trulieve contributed another $5 million last month to a ballot initiative aimed at legalizing recreational use of marijuana, according to a newly filed finance report. In all, Trulieve has contributed $15 million to the Smart & Safe Florida political committee, which is trying to get the initiative on the 2024 ballot.
Trulieve has contributed all but $124.58 of the committee’s money. Meanwhile, the committee reported spending about $6.7 million from Nov. 4 through Nov. 30 and had spent $13.944 million as of Nov. 30, the report posted on the state Division of Elections website said. Almost all of the spending from Nov. 4 through Nov. 30 went for costs related to petition gathering and petition verification.
As of Monday afternoon, the state had received 53,982 valid signatures for the initiative. Ultimately, the committee would need to submit 891,589 signatures to get on the ballot. The “Adult Personal Use of Marijuana” proposal would allow people 21 or older “to possess, purchase, or use marijuana products and marijuana accessories for non-medical personal consumption by smoking, ingestion, or otherwise.”
– Jim Saunders
Health Care Power 100
* Who are the most influential players in Florida heath care? City & State Florida's Health Care Power 100 identifies the most important figures in the space, including government officials, hospitals and insurance CEOs, leaders of trade associations and professional organizations and others who are shaping the medical systems that serve Florida.
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* Florida lawmakers began moving quickly to pass major property-insurance changes, with supporters saying the plan would stabilize the troubled system and critics saying it would hurt consumers, the News Service of Florida reports.
* Florida lawmakers advanced a proposal to create a $500 million program that would provide a 50% discount on toll charges to drivers who go through at least 35 toll stations each month, the Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau reports.
* Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book said she is bracing for a "tough session" in leading badly outnumbered Democrats through potentially divisive abortion and gun policy debates against an even bigger Republican majority, the Palm Beach Post reports.
* The legal battle over a Florida law that restricts classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation is pitting red states against blue states, with 14 Republican attorneys general and 15 Democratic ones for or against the law, the News Service of Florida reports.
* Jeremy Brown, a former Special Forces master sergeant linked to the Jan. 6 insurrection, was found guilty on six of 10 federal charges related to weapons and classified information that authorities found in his Tampa home, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
* More news below …
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* The prosecutor in Rebekah Jones’ case said she has publicly mischaracterized her deferred prosecution agreement for a computer crime plea deal, as she maintains innocence despite admitting guilt in the agreement, Fresh Take Florida reports.
*Since Jack Latvala resigned from the Florida Senate amid a sexual misconduct investigation, he has continued to influence Pinellas County politics by unloading millions of dollars to support candidates and political committees, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
* A special election has not yet been called to replace state Rep. Joe Harding, who resigned after a federal indictment, but two candidates have already tossed their hat in the ring to replace him, Florida Politics reports.
* Central Florida evangelical religious leader Joel Hunter will be at the White House today to witness President Biden’s signing of the Respect for Marriage bill into law, which will protect gay matrimony in the United States, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
* Jacksonville City Council is close to voting on a bill to follow state law and enforce “milestone inspections” on condominium and co-op buildings three or more stories tall as a precaution to prevent the next Surfside collapse, the Florida Times-Union reports.
The governor on Monday met with Chief of Staff James Uthmeier, Director of Legislative & Intergovernmental Affairs Stephanie Kopelousos, had a policy briefing and legislative briefings, took a photo with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Aviation Unit and attended the Foundation for Government Accountability summit in Naples, according to his official schedule.
* Former president Donald Trump’s legal effort to thwart a Justice Department investigation into classified documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach was officially thrown out, the Miami Herald reports.
* Elon Musk is ruining Trump’s presidential campaign by stealing the ex-president’s media mojo by becoming the ubiquitous troll-in-chief who always owns the libs, Bloomberg’s Joshua Green writes.
* Donald Trump’s sinking polls and political status in the Republican Party may cost him more than another shot at the presidency – it could help put him behind bars, the Hill’s Keith Naughton writes.
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City & State’s power lists feature the most influential Floridians in politics, from high-ranking officials in higher education or health care, to top consultants in campaigns and government affairs, to local power brokers in various regions of the state. Submit your nomination HERE.
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Deeper Dive with Dara Kam
DeSantis Inauguration, Special Session ... And More!
Jim Rosica, editor-in-chief of City & State Florida, is back in the Terracotta Room this week to chat with Dara about Gov. Ron DeSantis' upcoming inauguration events and the state Legislature's December special session. The duo also takes stock of who’s in and who’s out among state agency heads as DeSantis prepares to move into his second term. Bonus content: Which presidents had the best Secret Service codenames?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Greenberg Traurig’s Hayden Dempsey … to Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
ON THE MOVE: Ryan Ray was elected the new chair of the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee. Ray, the aide to Tallahassee City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow, won 70% of the vote against two other candidates. (h/t to Tallahassee Democrat reporter Jeff Burlew)
CONGRATULATIONS: Mark Delegal, partner with Delegal | Aubuchon Consulting, has again been recognized as one of the nation's top lawyers in both the Chambers USA and Super Lawyers® Legal Guides.
Ed. Note – Barbara Palmer is executive director of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. An item in Monday’s Announcements section said otherwise. We regret the error.
Have a birthday, career change, birth, death or life event to announce? Email us: email@example.com.
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“We're limited in what we can do, we know that, but what we can do is … fight to do the best that we can to create policies that are the best for Floridians.”
– Florida Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, via the Palm Beach Post, on how her superminority caucus is going to push back against the Republican supermajority in the Legislature.
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